GAA round-up: Rory O'Carroll to miss Dublin's All-Ireland title defence
Dublin will have to find a new full back for the 2016 season. Team boss Jim Gavin confirmed after the team’s drawn O’Byrne Cup tie against Wexford that Rory O’Carroll won’t be available in 2016 as he plans to travel and work in New Zealand for the year.
The current All Star full back, O’Carroll has won three All-Ireland medals with Dublin since 2011 and has been a pivotal figure in their defence.
The All-Ireland champions had to settle for a draw against Wexford in the opening round of the Bord na Mona O’Byrne Cup in Enniscorthy.
The understrength visitors conceded two early goals and trailed by 2-1 to 0-1 before the end of the first quarter. At half time the home side had extended their advantage to seven points (2-5 to 0-4).
However, Dublin controlled the second half with Dean Rock’s point taking a feature of their comeback. After Rock had equalized for Dublin in the closing ten minutes; Wexford registered their only score of the second period to briefly retain the lead.
But Rock hit his sixth point of the contest a minute from the end to level the scores again (2-6; 0-12) and the two sides had to content with a share of the spoils.
Dublin featured just three members of their All-Ireland winning team, Denis Bastick, Paddy Andrews and Rock. Given that they enjoyed a seven point lead at the break Wexford will view this as a missed opportunity to fashion a rare competitive win over the Dubs who haven’t lost a competitive since being beaten by Kerry in the League last March.
Elsewhere in the O’Byrne Cup there were no surprises in the first round fixtures all of which went ahead despite the bad weather.
Kildare made a winning start under new boss Cian O’Neill notching up 24 points in a facile success over DIT. Laois had to come from behind before seeing off the challenge of UCD and there were wins for Meath, Offaly, Westmeath and Longford as well.
Ulster champions Monaghan have suffered a shock defeat in the opening round of the Dr McKenna Cup tournament. Malachy O’Rourke’s men were trounced by the University of Jordanstown who chalked up an impressive ten point victory.
Despite finishing the game with 12 players Cavan comfortably beat Armagh in Crossmaglen. Two goals from the visitors proved the decisive scores between two counties who will clash in the Ulster championships next summer.
Derry notched up the biggest score of the day (4-16) but also conceded 2-12 as they beat Antrim while Tyrone got the defence of their title of to a winning start by hammering Queen’s University. Lee Brennan chipped in with 0-6 for the winners.
The most competitive match in the McKenna Cup was in Ballybofey where an early Frank McGlynn goal ultimately proved decisive as the home side saw off the challenge of Down.
The Fermanagh v St Mary’s game fell victim to the weather.
Meanwhile, in the Connacht FBD League Mayo made a winning start under new boss Stephen Rochford against NUIG in Castlebar.
Before an attendance of 2,390 the students pressed the Connacht champions all the way and a penalty goal from Adam Gallagher levelled the game with less than ten minutes remaining. But Mayo prevailed in the end.
There were no surprises in the other three games in Connacht with wins for Galway, Roscommon and Leitrim who welcomed back Emlyn Mulligan, who took a break from inter county action in 2015.
In the McGrath Cup Cork and Clare both eked out one points wins over Limerick and Tipperary respectively.
CLARE hurlers have made a winning start to 2016. Shane O’Donnell, their hat trick goal scoring hero from 2013 from the 2013 All-Ireland final replay, punished Cork again.
His second half goal proved the difference between the sides in Sixmilebridge. Clare’s newly appointed coach Donal Og Cusack found himself plotting the downfall of his native county who were making their competitive debut under new boss Kieran Kingston.
It was first blood to Clare but the season is still in its infancy. Limerick beat Kerry in the other Munster tie while in the Walsh Cup ties in Leinster there were wins for Offaly, Meath and Westmeath.
FBD SFL Round 1
Roscommon 1-20 IT Sligo 0-10 St Croans
Mayo 1-12 NUIG 1-10 MacHale Park
Galway 2-09 Sligo 0-12 Tuam
Leitrim 3-16 GMIT 1-6 Connacht GAA Centre
O’Byrne Cup Round 1
Wexford 2-06 Dublin 0-12 Enniscorthy
IT Carlow 2-06 DCU 3-20 Fenagh Centre of Excellence
Louth 1-09 Offaly 0-13 Darver Centre of Excellence
Kildare 0-24 DIT 1-07 Newbridge
Carlow 1-04 Meath 1-18 Netwatch Cullen Park
Laois 1-10 UCD 1-09 Park Ratheniska
Wicklow 0-13 Westmeath 1-14 Bray Emmetts
Longford 0-18 Maynooth University 1-09 Pearse Park
McGrath Cup Round 1
Clare 1-10 Tipperary 1-09 Miltown Malbay
Cork 1-10 Limerick 0-12 Mallow
McKenna Cup Round 1
Derry 4-16 Antrim 2-12 Owenbeg
Tyrone 3-17 Queens 0-11 Omagh
Donegal 1-11 Down 0-11 Ballybofey
Armagh 0-11 Cavan 2-08 Crossmaglen
Monaghan 1-09 UUJ 2-16 Clones
Walsh Cup Round 1
Offaly 4-28 DIT 0-10 O'Connor Park
Meath 1-13 Carlow 0-19 Pairc Tailteann
Westmeath 2-20 DCU 2-17 St Loman’s 3G
Munster SHL Round 1
Limerick 2-23 Kerry 0-18 Kilmallock
Clare 1-14 Cork 0-14 Sixmilebridge